What a week! After spending the past 5 days in Houston and Dallas, I can certainly say I am glad to be home! But what a blessed trip it was. I was able to spend Sunday morning in the presence of many professional athletes from the NBA and NFL, sharing the important role we have as black men to leverage our collective influence to improve the realities for the next generation of young men and boys that will follow us. It was a powerful gathering of highly successful thought leaders, philanthropists, celebrities and business leaders. Representing the voice of faith and activism, Rev. Jeffrey Brown and myself laid out a convincing argument of how we can collectively reduce gun violence through policies and programs. Rev. Brown, formerly of the Boston Ten Point Coalition, and the current Executive Director of the newly formed, RECAP (Rebuilding Every City Around Peace) urged for everyone in the room to push for targeted investments from the federal government and business community in cities and neighborhoods most impacted by gun violence. I reiterated, among other things, that “universal strategies do not create targeted results or outcomes.” It is important to appreciate that we all need to focus where the pain is, and make a commitment to address it with resources, attention, strategies and messaging. The room was very open to following up with next steps. Check out some of the pictures and coverage from the event. (NBA Stars Chris Paul & Carmelo Anthony Host “Catalyst Brunch” During All Star Weekend
I left Houston and headed to Dallas to continue our Texas tour carrying the message of Lifelines to Healing. The Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference is an international gathering of Clergy and Faith Leaders who take seriously the call to Follow God and Execute Justice. With over 1,000 attendees present, I was blessed to provide training for dozens of pastors who were interested in addressing Gun Violence and the Prison Industrial Complex. There was a great commitment by many to be involved in our next Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath events on March 9-10 & March 16-17. We also participated in a small focus group of top leaders to discuss how we plan to utitlize this very important window of opportunity in the national conversation about gun violence, to continue to elevate and accentuate the importance of the urban experience related to chronic violence, poverty, and trauma.
Other highlights included hanging out with my brother, Pastor TJ McBride of Tabernacle of Praise (www.topchurchlive.org) from the Atlanta area, who was attending with a delegation of seminary students from the Interdenominational Theological Consortium (ITC). It was also great to hang out with Romal Tune from Faith For Change, Rev. Everette Bell of LA Voice and a host of other PICO Staff and Clergy attending.
Let’s not be weary in our good work. The momentum building for ending gun violence in America is growing every day. Let’s commit to being a part of the solution, and NOT the problem. God is with us. And victory is ahead.